Statistics show that glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States and the rest of the world. The American Academy of Ophthalmology defines glaucoma as an eye condition caused by pressure that builds up inside your eye. It is an issue that damages the optic nerve that connects your eyes straight to your brain. You should have routine eye exams to catch glaucoma because this eye problem does not have noticeable signs. If you want to understand more about the diagnosis and care methods for glaucoma, here’s what you should know.
On your first visit for glaucoma, your eye care provider (ECP) will evaluate your medical history. Also, expect to go through an extensive eye examination. Here are the common tests that your ECP may carry out:
Tonometry. Your ECP can use this diagnostic test to measure your intraocular pressure (IOP) or the pressure inside your eye. The test can spot changes in your IOP before you start noticing them. The gold standard in measuring IOP is called the Goldmann applanation tonometry test.
Visual field test. With this test, your ECP can determine the width of the area that your eye can see when you concentrate on a central point of reference. A visual field test can measure the extent of vision loss you already have. It also finds out how well you see in each eye.
Dilated eye exam. By dilating your pupil with special eye drops, your eye doctor can examine the condition of your macula and optic nerve. It usually takes 15-30 minutes for your pupils to dilate, depending on how you respond to the compounds in the drops. Note that it may take four to six hours before your pupils return to normal size.
Gonioscopy. This painless exam enables your ophthalmologist to check the drainage angle of your eye. The angle is present between your cornea and iris. It is where your aqueous humor flows out. Expect numbing eye drops for your eyes because your ECP will place a mirrored contact lens on your affected eye. Gonioscopy lasts for only a few minutes.
Pachymetry. Using this exam, your eye specialist will measure your cornea’s thickness. It’s an effective exam if your ECP suspects that you have to progress glaucoma.
Below are some of the common glaucoma treatments that your eye specialist may consider based on your level of glaucoma:
Topical medications. These include prescription eye drops such as beta-blockers, prostaglandins, and miotic agents.
Oral medications. Your ECP can prescribe these medications if your eye drops are insufficient in lowering your eye pressure.
Surgery and other modalities. If your glaucoma is becoming severe, your eye doctor can lower your IOP by physically draining the fluid out of your eye.
Early diagnosis and treatment are essential in dealing with glaucoma. At Kennedy Vision Health Center, we encourage our patients to keep their routine eye exam appointment to catch glaucoma immediately. Please visit our clinics in Plymouth and Elk River, Minnesota, for an in-person consultation. You can contact us by dialing 763-296-2600 (Plymouth) or 763-296-2700 (Elk River) if you want to book an appointment. By then, we can also answer your questions about our glaucoma treatment packages.